Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on Thursday claimed that the French embassy in India has procured Moderna anti-coronavirus vaccine and it is being administered to its nationals at Navi Mumbai even as only three other vaccines are permitted in the country.
The Minority Affairs Minister sought to know from the Centre how a "non-permitted" vaccine is allowed to be administered to the residents of France and their relatives living here.
Mr Malik, who is NCP's national spokesperson, also asked why the Centre cannot procure the vaccine for the people of India if the French Embassy can.
"Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V are the 3 Vaccines that are permitted in India by our government. According to information received by me, the French Embassy in India has procured the vaccine @moderna_tx and is inoculating their citizens and their relatives at Navi Mumbai with the help of @ApolloHosMumbai," Mr Malik tweeted.
"Question arises, how can a non-permitted vaccine be allowed to be administered? If they can get it, why can't Indian government get it for our citizens too. The government and the Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan must clarify," he added.
The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra, of which the NCP is a part along with the Shiv Sena and Congress, has been critical of the BJP-led central government over the alleged shortage of vaccines required to inoculate the people of the state.
Responding to Mr Malik's claim, BJP leader Pravin Darekar said, "There are no exact details available about his allegations. As per my information, every embassy has made provisions of COVID-19 vaccines for its own staff working here. However, the Maharashtra government is not taking care of its own people in the state, but wasting time in pointing fingers at such non-issues."
"It shows the kind of sensitivity this government has towards its people," the Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)